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United Kingdom Peter Whitehead

Races: 12
Podiums: 1
Career Points: 4

YearTeamConstructorPointsPositionEngineChassis
1950United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari   Ferrari 125 1.5 V12s Ferrari 125 S 
1951United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 1951 F1 Season : Peter WhiteheadFerrari   Ferrari 125 1.5 V12s 125 
1951United Kingdom Vandervell Products 1951 F1 Season : Peter WhiteheadFerrari   Ferari 375 4.5 V12 375 tw 
1952United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 1952 F1 Season : Peter WhiteheadFerrari   Ferrari 125 1.5 V12 125/F2 
1953United Kingdom Atlantic Stable Cooper   Alta GP 2.5 L4 Cooper T24 
1954United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 1954 F1 Season : Peter WhiteheadCooper   Alta GP 2.5 L4 Cooper T24 

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By Jeremy McMullen
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Herding sheep and shearing wool doesn't exactly evoke images of being a training ground for motor racing drivers, but it does help to fund one. On opposing ends of the spectrum, the simple, pastoral life of sheep farming and the wool industry helped to fund the exciting, on the edge, racing career of Peter Whitehead.

Born in Menston, England in 1914, Peter started racing locally at the young age of 19 years old in 1934. In 1936, with the aid of his parents wealth in wool, Peter bought and ERA B chassis (see ERA article).

Whitehead's first race of 1936 was the Junior Car Club 200 mile race at Donington Park in England. Competing against, soon-to-be, Mercedes-Benz driver Richard Seaman, Whitehead qualified his ERA B 2nd. Things looked promising early on in the race as Peter took the lead right from the start. After a few laps Seaman took over the lead. Peter's race came to an end after 10 laps when a piston failed.

The next race Peter competed was the Donington Grand Prix in October of 1936. Whitehead drew the 13th starting spot on the grid. This time, however, Peter's ERA worked well and the 21 year-old finished the race 3rd. An interesting note about this race was the fact Peter shared the drive with Peter Walker. This pairing would prove to be rather successful in future years.

1937, for Whitehead, started off with the Coronation Trophy voiturette race. The race, held outside London, consisted of two heat races and a final. Peter was in the 2nd heat and finished 3rd. In the final, Peter started 3rd. While he was the last car running on the track, Peter finished the race 5th. Peter followed the Coronation Trophy race with another 5th place at the RAC International Light Car race, held on the Isle of Man. Sparing against the likes of Luigi Villoresi, Mays and Bira, Whitehead had his hands full. His hands became even more full battling these drivers in the torrential rain that fell during the race. Peter started from the 3rd row in 5th. Whitehead again paired with Walker for this race.

After a couple of 8th place finishes at the Florence Grand Prix and the voiturette Milan Grand Prix, Peter failed to finish at Picardie, but overcame that setback at his next race.

Peter once again drove in the Junior Car Club 200 mile race at Donington. This race was run at the same time as a voiturette race. Starting in the middle of the 2nd row, Whitehead drove a consistent, steady race. Almost half of the field suffered from some kind of terminal problem, but not Peter. At the end of the race, Peter drove his ERA B to a 3rd place finish, though some five and a half minutes behind winner Dobson.
YearChassisEngine
1954Cooper T24Alta GP 2.5 L4
1953Cooper T24Alta GP 2.5 L4
1952125/F2Ferrari 125 1.5 V12
1951125Ferrari 125 1.5 V12s
1951375 twFerari 375 4.5 V12
1950Ferrari 125 SFerrari 125 1.5 V12s

Whitehead raced later that day as well. In the following race Peter drove his ERA B within the voiturette category against larger, more powerful cars. Attrition was high and there were only five cars still running at the end of the race. Peter was one of them. Whitehead ran third most the race until Earl Howe almost had an accident. This handed second to Peter and he never looked back. Despite not being able to challenge Dobson for the win, Peter finished solidly in second with almost a one minute gap on Wakefield who finished 3rd.

1937 didn't finish well for Peter unfortunately. Peter suffered DNFs at the Dublin voiturette race and the Donington Grand Prix. These late failures didn't hamper Whitehead's momentum going into 1938. In 1938 Peter would take part in only one race, but he would make the most of it.

Travelling to Australia on business, Whitehead took a rather unusual business partner with him, but the two were successful when paired together. Whitehead's business partner was his ERA B that he took with him. In April of '38, Peter took part in the Australian Grand Prix handicap race at Bathurst. It is unknown whether the business venture aspect of the trip was successful or not, but the one race Whitehead would compete sure was. Peter ended up winning the race and then ceased from any major races the rest of the year. Whitehead was the first to win a motor race at the circuit. Germany's invasion of Europe toward the end of 1939 severely hampered many drivers from taking part in races. Those with means, like Whitehead, would even travel to other continents to be able to race. Peter travelled to South Africa and took part in two races while there; the South African Grand Prix voiturette race and the Grosvenor voiturette race. Unfortunately, Whitehead was not rewarded for his travels. Peter suffered DNFs at both races.

Upon returning to England, and the familiar Donington Park, Peter also returned to successful form. The race organizers tried to lure Mercedes-Benz to bring their new voiturette chassis but to no avail. In fact, no German or Italian team accepted the invitation for the race. Competing with his ERA B in the Nuffield Trophy race, Whitehead started the race 3rd Bira crushed the field in his ERA. Whitehead followed Mays home in 3rd after a hard fought race. Peter finished the 64 lap race one lap down and over two minutes behind Bira's C Type ERA.

Heading into World War II, Whitehead put his desire and passion for living on the edge to good use becoming a pilot during the war. Due to the years and destruction of World War II, many people were looking to get back to some idea of normalcy, even if that was driving a dangerous grand prix car to its limits. Whitehead couldn't wait to get back to competitive racing. As grand prix racing resumed, Peter was there with his ERA ready to compete.

Finally, in June of 1946, Whitehead got the opportunity to get back to what he loved to do. A grand prix race was held on the Royal Air Force's Gransden airfield. Reg Parnell and Bob Gerard were some of those to be found at the race. It should have been considered more of a sprint race or exhibition as it was only 3 laps around the 2 mile temporary road course. Reg Parnell ended up winning the event in his Maserati 4CL. Whitehead did not finish the race and was classified dead last after spinning before completing even the very first lap. However, Peter was back to racing and he didn't waste any time before he set off away from home in search of competitive racing.

T24  T24  125 S  125 S  
Whitehead would find his next competitive venture in Torino, Italy in September at the end of 1946. The Gran Premio del Valentino was a 60 lap race on a 2.8 mile road course. Both the great drivers and cars reemerged from the mothballs. Varzi, Wimille and Trossi reappeared with the Alfa Romeo 158. Peter emerged at the race with his new ERA E-type chassis. Unfortunately, the new car did not prove to provide a good result as Peter's race came to an end after 32 laps due to gearbox problems.

1947 was a rather busy year for Whitehead. In all, he would compete in five grand prix races and with an ERA E or ERA R10B chassis. The early part of the year did not prove to be too successful, but things changed by the end of the summer and into the fall.

In August of 1947, Peter took part in the British Empire Trophy race on the Isle of Man. This event was 40 laps of the 3.8 mile street course that would cover a total of 155 miles. As its name indicates, this was a battle between the British empire's top drivers like Gerard, Bira, Harrison and Whitehead. Driving his ERA R10B, Peter finished the race in 2nd behind the ERA R14B of Bob Gerard.

United Kingdom Drivers  F1 Drivers From United Kingdom 
George Edgar Abecassis
Henry Clifford Allison
Robert 'Bob' Anderson
Peter Arundell
Peter Hawthorn Ashdown
Ian Hugh Gordon Ashley
Gerald Ashmore
William 'Bill' Aston
Richard James David 'Dickie' Attwood
Julian Bailey
John Barber
Donald Beauman
Derek Reginald Bell
Mike Beuttler
Mark Blundell
Eric Brandon
Thomas 'Tommy' Bridger
Thomas 'Tommy' Bridger
David Bridges
Anthony William Brise
Chris Bristow
Charles Anthony Standish 'Tony' Brooks
Alan Everest Brown
William Archibald Scott Brown
Martin John Brundle
Ivor Léon John Bueb
Ian Burgess
Jenson Alexander Lyons Button
Michael John Campbell-Jones
Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman
Max Chilton
James 'Jim' Clark, Jr.
Peter John Collins
David Marshall Coulthard
Piers Raymond Courage
Christopher Craft
Jim Crawford
John Colum 'Johnny Dumfries' Crichton-Stuart
Tony Crook
Geoffrey Crossley
Anthony Denis Davidson
Colin Charles Houghton Davis
Tony Dean
Paul di Resta
Hugh Peter Martin Donnelly
Kenneth Henry Downing
Bernard Charles 'Bernie' Ecclestone
Guy Richard Goronwy Edwards
Victor Henry 'Vic' Elford
Paul Emery
Robert 'Bob' Evans
Jack Fairman
Alfred Lazarus 'Les Leston' Fingleston
John Fisher
Ron Flockhart
Philip Fotheringham-Parker
Joe Fry
Divina Mary Galica
Frederick Roberts 'Bob' Gerard
Peter Kenneth Gethin
Richard Gibson
Horace Gould
Keith Greene
Brian Gubby
Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood
Bruce Halford
Duncan Hamilton
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton
David Hampshire
Thomas Cuthbert 'Cuth' Harrison
Brian Hart
Mike Hawthorn
Brian Henton
John Paul 'Johnny' Herbert
Damon Graham Devereux Hill
Norman Graham Hill
David Wishart Hobbs
James Simon Wallis Hunt
Robert McGregor Innes Ireland
Edmund 'Eddie' Irvine, Jr.
Chris Irwin
John James
Leslie Johnson
Thomas Kenrick Kavanagh 'Ken' Kavanagh
Rupert Keegan
Christopher J. Lawrence
Geoffrey Lees
Jackie Lewis
Stuart Nigel Lewis-Evans
Michael George Hartwell MacDowel
Lance Noel Macklin
Damien Magee
Nigel Ernest James Mansell
Leslie Marr
Anthony Ernest 'Tony' Marsh
Steve Matchett
Raymond Mays
Kenneth McAlpine
Perry McCarthy
Allan McNish
John Miles
Robin 'Monty' Montgomerie-Charrington
Dave Morgan
Bill Moss
Sir Stirling Moss
David Murray
John Brian Naylor
Timothy 'Tiff' Needell
Lando Norris
Rodney Nuckey
Keith Jack Oliver
Arthur Owen
Dr. Jonathan Charles Palmer
Jolyon Palmer
Michael Johnson Parkes
Reginald 'Tim' Parnell
Reginald 'Tim' Parnell
Reginald Harold Haslam Parnell
David Piper
Roger Dennistoun 'Dennis' Poore
David Prophet
Thomas Maldwyn Pryce
David Charles Purley
Ian Raby
Brian Herman Thomas Redman
Alan Rees
Lance Reventlow
John Rhodes
William Kenneth 'Ken' Richardson
John Henry Augustin Riseley-Prichard
Richard Robarts
Alan Rollinson
Tony Rolt
George Russell
Roy Francesco Salvadori
Brian Shawe-Taylor
Stephen South
Michael 'Mike' Spence
Alan Stacey
William Stevens
Ian Macpherson M Stewart
James Robert 'Jimmy' Stewart
Sir John Young Stewart
John Surtees
Andy Sutcliffe
Dennis Taylor
Henry Taylor
John Taylor
Michael Taylor
Trevor Taylor
Eric Thompson
Leslie Thorne
Desmond Titterington
Tony Trimmer
Peter Walker
Derek Stanley Arthur Warwick
John Marshall 'Wattie' Watson
Peter Westbury
Kenneth Wharton
Edward N. 'Ted' Whiteaway
Graham Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
Bill Whitehouse
Robin Michael Widdows
Mike Wilds
Jonathan Williams
Roger Williamson
Justin Wilson
Vic Wilson
Whitehead's other good result of 1947 came at the Grand Prix of Lausanne in Switzerland. This was a 90 lap affair on the 2.0 mile road course. Ascari took pole in his Maserati 4CL. Though not having the same pace as the Maseratis and Talbot-Lagos, Peter drove a smart race and ended the event 6th, some 7 laps behind the winner Villoresi in his Maserati 4CL.

Whitehead's career almost came to an early end in 1948 when he was involved in a plane crash at London's Croydon Aerodrome. The seriousness of his injuries, however, did prevent him from competing in any races during the '48 season, but he was surely blessed just to be alive. He overcame his injuries rather quickly though and was ready to go back to racing in the early part of '49. In addition to obviously being blessed by being able to be rescued from death in the plane crash, Peter also showed he was blessed in one other big way, which was to prove a difference-maker going into 1949 and beyond. Somehow Peter was able to convince Enzo Ferrari to sell him a grand prix car, which was a Ferrari 125. This was no small achievement since this was to be the only grand prix car sold by Enzo to anybody.

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Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton
2018 L. Hamilton

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Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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